When members of the 2019 Club at Hicksville High School started preparing for their final homecoming celebration, their goal was to create a banner that would represent their fellow seniors, outshine the other classes to win the best banner award and allow them to revel in the bragging rights. The banner had to follow a board game theme.
“Picking a game was a challenge," said Emily Heihs, 17, president of the 2019 Club. “As seniors now, it’s even more important to make everything great.”
The iconic board game Monopoly would be their selection – the hamlet of Hicksville, their muse – their collective experiences, the motivation.
“We all had different ideas of what the actual game-playing pieces should be,” said Catherine Temps, a technology teacher at the high school and one of the senior class advisers. “We wanted to incorporate Hicksville pride.”
With four weeks to prepare, 15 students started meeting after school to work on the project.
“We realized that it’s not just about ourselves, it’s a lot about this community that has raised us and made us who we are today,” said senior Catherine Chen, 17. “We wanted it to be more of a reflection of the Hicksville High School experience than just our [Hicksville High School] experience.”
Working within the banner parameter, Temps encouraged 3-dimensional concepts so the students could be more creative. Using dowel rods, foam board, Amazon boxes, and a 55-inch TV box, the creation was a lesson in repurposing, visualizing and problem-solving, as well as getting a spectrum of students involved. Temps said that seniors who were not part of the club used skills learned from the robotics club and technology classes to help assemble various components.
“We tried to incorporate things that were closer to the heart for everybody, places like Starbucks and Calda [pizza], which are quintessential senior lunch places,” Chen said. “The library, which has been at the crux of our after-school life since middle school; detention [cleverly represented by the traditional Monopoly jail square] to represent our biggest fears, and the Broadway Mall, which is where we hang out with all of our friends."
The banner represented the community’s main thoroughfares like Old Country Road and Division Avenue, along with well-known destinations like Hicksville’s LIRR station. There was also a personal reflection for what is yet to come for these high school seniors: "Go," the space on a Monopoly board where $200 is collected when playing pieces pass by, was reserved in this game variant for a special reward: a high school diploma.
The seniors won the banner contest, along the way learning some valuable lessons that could help them in years to come.
Said Chen, “Once you get in there, get everybody with the same goal in mind and make sure everybody’s on task, it’s amazing to see how quickly things get done and how we can really come together.”